I observed a wonderful Kingfisher in the park some weeks ago. (https://nicholasmollerhaug.com/2014/08/24/a-kingfisher-in-berlin/ ) As a hobby ornitologist this was nirvana for me: the Indian national bird (so to speak) in the middle of Europe – in the middle of Berlin. Now Rosa helps me out searching for it. Still we haven’t seen it again. Tomorrow maybe?
Every summer his world came to our tiny village. The Grinde Valley was filled with the sounds of New York City. Then Gunnar came home for a few months; this flamboyant latino good looking old gentleman. Originally he was a manifacturer from Haugesund – the herring fisher town some miles from our village. During the war he made his move to the Big Apple. Gunnar Jondal was his full name but the villagers called him only The American – or simply “Amrikanaren”.
He arrived with suitcases filled up with Wrigleys Chewing gum and small toys for us kids – and Pall Mall’s boxes for his older comrades. He always weared white suites and talked with a tremendous loud voice filled with NYCslang. He even made long baths in the river of Grinde; filled it with bathing foam.
Walker Evans: Subway Photographs 1938-1941
I’ve always been fascinated by him. He died in his late 70s by cancer – in the mid-nineties. I tried for a while finding his children but gave up. It seemed that this old world of Gunnar was long gone. Till last week. Last week this world came back to me – here in Berlin. A marvellous exhibition at Gropius Bau: a large photo exhibition of Walker Evans. An deeply moving photographic tour to the most intime parts of US – and Gunnar’s world.
I’m proud of entitling me a hobby ornithologist. And this morning I experienced something rare in that perspective. In the middle of Berlin I saw a rare bird. A bird I’ve longed to see for years. For twenty years. Since I lived in India : the Kingfisher. I saw one tiny specimen flying over the pond next to the Mauerpark.
I’ve longed to hear the American band EARTH live for years. Finally I had the opportunity this summer. A marvellous happening at Lido in Kreuzberg. It must have been the most humid and hot venue i’ve seen since Ionesco’s “The Chairs “in Kolkata. Dylan Carson – Lead guitarist and spiritual father of EARTH – even played some new songs. (These will appear on their next record in September: heavy slow (as usual) songs with tons of folkloric ornaments and overtones. All in all – mr. Carson’s musical direction reminded me about great Norwegian harding fellas. The same nerve, myriads of overtones and a slow metal country groove. Perfect miniatures instructions to the audience inbetween the songs as well. Just like the harding master Einar Mjølsnes from Voss.
It was the very last performance Lorin Mazel was going to give in Berlin. Despite of heavy back pain I took the Ubahn to the great brassy concert hall. Stood all the way from Prenzlauer Berg to Potsdam. And mainly partly-sitting-standing on the galleria of the great concert hall. It was about to be a great happening: Lorin conducting his long-lasting-love Berliner Philarmonics. Then it turned out that he had cancelled. A stand in stood in – the israeli conductor Semyon Buchov. He did a marvellous version of the Schubert 8th Symphony – (The Great). A monumental version – fully in the spirit of the great maestro Mazel. Mazel passed away on July 13th: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/arts/music/lorin-maazel-brilliant-intense-and-enigmatic-conductor-dies-at-84.html?_r=0